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Aeolus Perspectives 12th Edition: New technologies help for a long-life tyre. But human commitment in regular checks is still crucial.

25-03-2020

Truck on road with dark sky

Too many companies miss controlling their fleet tyres regularly so a thousand vehicles are running with tyres in not very good conditions, risking serious damages to people and goods and hard sanctions too. New technologies are offering solutions. However, operators and drivers are still calling to do it by their own. So much fundamental and too often so neglected as well. Literally supporting road mobility and also crucial for safe driving, tyres are definitely one of the main and most critical parts of any cars and trucks. They are the one and only link between the vehicle and the road and often a key item in the overall yearly companies’ accounts too. Despite this, fleet decision-makers seem not always to reserve to tyres as much care and attention as to the vehicle. The recently published white paper “Tyres: From F1 Motorsport to Fleet” by Venson Automotive Solutions Ltd – a UK fleet management solutions provider - suggests that many companies fail to regularly check their tyres. About 40% of tyres across Venson’s leased and managed vehicles have to be replaced prematurely every year due to tyre damages. And it is mostly true for light commercial vehicles which are around 60% of the company’s fleet. That means thousands of cars and trucks regularly fitted with tyres in bad conditions - low tread depths, surface damages, pressure under or over recommended levels and so on -, risking serious injuries and hard sanctions too. Following the car manufacturers which are spending hundreds of millions evolving electric and autonomous vehicles, the global major tyre makers keep on investing al lot in developing “smart tyres” as well as digital solutions, advanced systems and devices. As TMPS (Tyre-Pressure Monitoring System), for example, it is an electronic system designed to monitor the air pressure inside the tyres and referring real-time about it to the driver. Aeolus has already launched it and since then it has been implemented in lots of its clients. TMPS first adoption dates back even in half ’80s. By now TMPS is a widespread standard. From 1st November 2014, due to the European regulation 661/2009, all new cars must be equipped with TPMS. Beyond, more and more specialized fleet tyre software systems are also available on the market. They can make it possible to have always fleet tyres under control, track their overall status and performances, program regular and extraordinary maintenance, check stock levels and eventually forward an order to a supplier and much more. That gives the opportunities to have a real-time and a long-time view to optimize the tyre strategic management improving quality and efficiencies. All this could be soon furtherly enhanced by the new technologies connecting tyres and giving them “eyes and ears”. The aim is to catch data to perform relevant action or reaction or even eventually make a good prediction about oncoming changes on the vehicle in all its parts and in the all-round world. In a more than a suggestive view, applied sensors will provide information about both tyre’ status and road conditions and these could then be used by the advanced onboard systems for altering pressure and grip to guarantee the best performance. Smart tyres will also help the companies to save money as data feeds will deliver remedial action alerts thus reducing maintenance costs, improving road safety, limiting risk exposure, aiding fuel economy and reducing CO2 emissions too. Also, the engraving of a QR (Quick Response) code on tyre could enhance fleet tyre management strategies and reduce vehicle downtime too. Natural depositories of a wide quantity of data, the QR codes could help to distinguish the original equipment from a pretending one and also to enable fleet managers, leasing and fleet management companies to get benefits by a better managing tyre replacement. The “intelligent” tyres are definitely set to become a reality. They will provide plenty of information designed to lengthen the tyre average life and reduce its maintenance costs. They will be also able to self-manage more and more thus partially taking the responsibility of checking tyres condition off from operators and drivers. However, time is not now and anyway technology could never be enough by itself. Still for a while and maybe for a very long time on, the fleet managers’ and the company’ s commitment to manually checking their tyres on a regular basis still remains essential and crucial to guarantee the overall road safety and fleets’ efficiency. Technology can give one hand. Not both two. Sources: “Tyres: From F1 Motorsport to Fleet”, Venson Automotive Solutions Ltd, February 2020

TAGS: Aeolus perspectives, Technology, Tyre industry
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